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Update on ag projects

Tom Kappner addressed the Delaware town board about the county’s economic development plan on December 11.

December 24, 2013

At the Town of Delaware meeting on December 11, Tom Kappner, who’s worked on United Nations Development Program and is a town resident, presented his update on the Sullivan County Economic Plan. He was invited to be a member of the Economic Development Steering Committee by the county legislature, and is working with one of its groups, the Agricultural Development Group.

Kappner recounted the new developments since August, stating his own personal view that there’s a whole new kind of agricultural development taking place here, adapting to the area’s particular conditions, and that is what the town should support. “We’re advocating a new kind of agricultural development in this area, where the new people who get into agriculture farm smaller.”

He named hops, cider and wine distilleries, small farms specializing in alpaca and the many small vegetable farms that are starting as examples. “Basically it’s smaller farms with connections to the Metro area,” he concluded.

Sullivan County Legislature charged the different groups to go over and develop action plans for their particular field to implement the proposed plans.

Kappner outlined the four separate items the agricultural development group he’s part of is working on. They are: develop a program for dairy processing capacity throughout the county; ensure the Liberty red meat processing plant is successful and supports other local businesses; further the food hub plans and foster regional ties with Cornell Co-operative Extension’s help; and develop the agricultural farmland protection plan.

“The most important thing I want to say is that agriculture here is developing a new kind of agriculture, it’s smaller scale, with direct contact of the consumer with the producers, like farms selling directly from the farm or through the many farmers’ markets,” Kappner said in a phone interview, indicating it was his own personal view, and not necessarily the county’s.

Under other business at the meeting, town supervisor Edward T. Sykes reported the town has received a $79,834 for the Railroad Square crossing, and he commended the hard work by the town clerk Tess McBeath to ensure that it was received.